Monday, February 28, 2005

05-06 Oklahoma to the Panhandle of Texas

Oklahoma and The Panhandle of Texas, into New Mexico.
Week 6 of 52
May 15-21

My plan is to zip across Oklahoma. But I couldn’t zip by without giving some information as I bump and bounce across hwy 40. The eastern end of Oklahoma is much like Arkansas, low mountain ranges, heavily wooded. Their rest stops have picnic table shelters in the shape of Tee P’s. My Canadian friends would be happy to see signs for the Canadian River, Canadian Valley and Little Canadian River. As I was, having fond memories of meeting them all this past winter.

Spent one night at a Passport America campground for $8.50 in the town of Checotah, home of Kerry Underwood one of the last 3 finalist in the American Idol program. Then it was an early start on the road. I wanted to get through Oklahoma City. I learned how to imitate an American Indian by saying, I I I E E, O O O, I E E while bouncing along hwy 40 through Okla City. Talk about an old bouncing concrete road. There are good sections of the hwy, but the bad parts are really bad.

This is Indian country with 39 tribal headquarters in Oklahoma. From about the center of the state the hills become farm land mixed with a sprinkling of forest which then becomes the western prairie. My second night in the state will be at Foss State Park. One of 52 state parks in Oklahoma.

And along the way, I finally traveled a few miles on a part of the original Route 66. I went to one of the Route 66 museums along the way. This one was labeled the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City Ok. Unfortunately, it was not a part of the National park system and although it was a good presentation, it was disappointing at not being a true national park museum. I did find one exhibit on an original “camping” truck and will include it in the photo section. It was filled with tons of windows and had awesome blond cabinets and kitchen set up. The highway I’ll be taking the rest of the way out west, hwy 40 actually follows much of the western end of Route 66. Next day, I went to the Route 66 museum in Clinton and it was much better. Included a cassette to explain each section of the tour with a good film at the end of the tour including the music that defined the era.

The state bird is the Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher. I wish I could get a picture of it, you might want to check on the internet for a picture. It’s a beautiful bird and you see them flying everywhere, their distinctive forked tail that’s twice as long as their body.

I’ll have to come back to this state in the future, but on this trip, I’m just traveling through the state.

Wind! As soon as I hit the prairie, the winds picked up. Today, it’s getting around 25-35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Whooooh. That’s windy. I saw a small wind farm, with perhaps 40 big windmills and a just started seeing some of the oil rigs in the area.

Wed. It’s onto Texas, the panhandle section and Amarillo. It was a short ride to get here. Not planning on staying more than one night. There is a great State park in the area, but since I plan on staying in the NM area for a couple of weeks, I’m eager to get there and get settled.

I had heard that Texas rest areas all had wi-fi service, but found out that many in the Northern part of the state still are not connected, but will be soon. I was told at a help center that they should all be connected by Dec of 05. It’s free for two hours of use per year, then a charge kicks in.

New Mexico, Thursday.

Yippee! I made it to New Mexico, the first of 4 states I’ll be spending the summer. I of course stopped at the visitor station in NM and the gal was so helpful. We mapped out a wonderful tour that will take me the full month. I’m stopped over in a small town called Tucumcari once again on Old Route 66 and am staying at the Kiva Rv Park. The Cactus Rv park actually looks a bit nicer, but for $10 a night who’s complaining.

This is the first day that it has hit in the 90’s and I expect it to be like this for the summer. I’ll head for higher ground tomorrow, where it should be cooler. The pictures of the hotels and the Tee Pee were taken in Tucumcari. I visited a Dinosaur museum in town and it was pretty good. Learned much about the age of dinosaurs. It’s hard to think of this earth being inhabited millions of years ago. Many displays were bronze casts of the dinosaurs and their foot prints, which you were encouraged to touch and get a feeling for the size of these magnificent beings.

Happiness is finding your home where ever you are. I’m home.

PS, wait till the report next week. It’s gonna be a good one.

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